The Manabí Provincial Court has declared null and void the habeas corpus protection granted to former vice president Jorge Glas and Daniel Salcedo. The habeas corpus was issued August 6 by Judge Banny Rubén Molina of the Portoviejo Penitentiary Guarantees Unit based on “physical and mental health concerns” for the two men held in a Quito prison. He ordered the immediate release of both men.
In its decision, the Provincial Court said Molina’s ruling was issued outside of his jurisdiction and violated “processing standards” for issuing the habeas corpus. The court also said that Molina violated legal rules requiring that prison officials and the Attorney General’s office be involved in the case.
Glas is serving concurrent six-year sentences for illegal association and enrichment while Salcedo was sentenced to 13 years for defrauding the government in the sale of medical supplies to public and social security hospitals.
Glas served as vice president from 2013 to 2017 in the Rafael Correa administration
Llori loses appeal to regain Assembly presidency
Former National Assembly president Guadalupe Llori has lost her legal battle to regain her job. Quitumbe National Court Judge Patricia Ramírez ruled that there was no evidence that Llori’s constitutional rights were violated in her removal from office. Llori was replaced by Virgilio Saquicela on May 31, when 81 of the Assembly’s 137 members voted for her dismissal. Her ouster was supported by the conservative Social Christian and center-leftist Union of Hope parties.
Llori claimed her dismissal violated constitutional rights of due process as well as National Assembly procedural rules. In her legal appeal, she sued to regain the Assembly presidency and for $8 million in damages against those who voted against her.
Llori, who was elected Assembly president in May 2021 as part of a coalition supporting President Guillermo Lasso. In her appeal, neither Lasso or his staff did not support her reinstatement. Llori remains in the National Assembly and is a member of the indigenous Pachakutik party.
SOLCA suspends service to new IESS patients
The board of directors of the private cancer hospitals, Solca (Society for the Fight Against Cancer), voted Friday to deny service to new Social Security (IESS) patients. Solca officials claim the government failed to pay $34 million of a $140 million debt that dates back to 2008. They say the government missed an August 15 payment deadline.
The IESS has contracted with Solca since 2001 to provide cancer treatment to IESS members.
The end-of-service to IESS announcement applies to Cuenca’s Solca hospital as well as seven other Solca facilities throughout the country. Solca said IESS patients currently receiving treatment are not affected by the decision.
In a statement, Solca claimed the government is in violation of an April agreement to make payment on the debt. It said that following the agreement, the IESS board of directors voted to “put aside the debt” and only pay for current and future cancer treatments. “This change was not part of the agreement and was not discussed with us,” Solca said. “Therefore we will accept no new patients requiring cancer treatment from the IESS system.”
Solca says that since 2008, three governments have broken promises to pay for cancer treatment services. “Under the administrations of Rafael Correa, Lenin Moreno and Guillermo Lasso, Ecuador’s Social Security health system has missed payment deadlines and we are forced to suspend services due to the broken promises.”
Former comptroller stands trial for bribery
Former national comptroller Pablo Celi has been ordered to stand trial for bribery in a case involving a Chinese construction company. On Friday, Criminal Court Judge Luis Rojas said that prosecutors have presented sufficient criminal evidence for a trial to begin.
According to the charges, Celi received bribes of at least $1.3 million for allowing overcharges by Chinese construction company CAMC on government projects. According to evidence admitted by Rojas, Celi approved payments to CAMC of “suspicious” charges of between $22 million and $40 million.
From 2010 to 2016 CAMC was the contractor on several large government construction projects, including a large financial services center north of Quito.
Prosecutors claim that a deposit of $1.3 million from CAMC was made into the account of Marcelo Ron, Celi’s uncle, and that other CAMC deposits were made into accounts of Celi’s brother, Estaban Celi and two others. “We believe that many millions of dollars were paid to Pablo Celi and his associates but we feel comfortable proceeding to trial with the evidence we have.”